Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vacation Part 3: The Beach

So, here's the big news.  I don't really like the beach.  Well, specifically, I don't like the sand and there is a whole lot of that at the beach.  I do like the waves and the sounds and the sun, but the sand?  Not so much.

It sticks to you.  Ick.

Like I said earlier, we do this beach thing regularly and this beach usually.  So, we have seen most of the sights and done most of the 'stuff' so this week we really just hung out at the beach.
Amy LOVES the beach, even the sand, so she was down there longest of all enjoying herself.  Stevie would come and go.  I would come, sit awhile, walk awhile and go home.  I did learn to read my Kindle through a baggie so none of the dreadful sand got on it.  Yay!  Good idea, Amy.

I love walking on the beach...the constant breeze and the water rushing and playing.  The pelicans flying in formation and the shore birds running from the waves.  But, one day, a very sad thing happened.  As Stevie and I walked up, a large bird who was sitting flat on the sand at the water's edge, but facing the land, pushed himself up with his wings, turned himself toward the sea and let the next wave take him.  He was gone.  We waited for minutes, knowing that some birds dive to eat, but he never surfaced.  We could tell by his movements on the sand that he was somehow injured, couldn't fly or walk.
Seems to me he sat quietly making his peace and then turned to leave this life in the water that had been so much a part of his life.
I don't know what kind of bird he was.  Bigger than a gull, but not a pelican.
It really was a moment to remember for me....and I'm aware that I am reading more into it than was there, but it made me stop and think and wonder.  Those are all good things.

The rest of the week was much less dramatic but record breaking hot and stormy!
Here are some pictures.
Stormy over there on the way onto the Outer Banks...Saturday.

Sunday, from the top deck on our cottage, looking north.

Monday, looking south.  I think this was the night 
that the house shook!

Tuesday, looking east.  The ocean is just over there.  
Loving the colors in this one.
Good news - the storms were in the evening or the early morning
so beach time was not compromised.

Surface of the moon?  No.  Sand on Jockey's Ridge.
Lots of sand, but it wasn't at the beach and I 
wasn't wet so it wasn't AS sticky.

These tiny little frogs lives up there in the sand.
Amazing, right?

Sand blowing continually.  This is with my shoes sitting
only for a couple of minutes.  They would have been 
buried in no time.

Can you see what's going on down there?  
Let me see if I can help you out.

Three guys working diligently to make some lucky girls dream come true.  Letters were about 5 feet tall and a foot deep.  Isn't that sweet?
The ocean with sea oats.  I have this picture in some
form from each trip.

Waves coming in...

and going out.  
Or vice versa.

Love the old beach fences, too.

Found this PEACE leaf on one of our walks.

You can find peace lots of places.  You just have to look.

So, that's it.  Didn't take many pictures.  Didn't buy any souvenirs, except for a magnet to add to the collection.  Didn't eat any seafood.

Here's one thing I learned about myself on this trip.  I am a simple person.
We went out to eat at a fancy place one night and I didn't really enjoy it at all like I should have.  I keep trying and hoping it will seem like it was worth that much money for that experience, but it just isn't for me.  And I'm OK with that.  Just need to start saying go ahead without me!
Oh, and I love finding a small church filled with 'family' who are happy to see me!  And they gave me a loaf of bread when I left.  That was good food all around.

Happy that Amy and Stevie include me and we still love each other when we get home.

Vacation Part 2: Higher Learning

Our next stop was in Raleigh.  Toddy's son, Kevin, teaches at UNC-Chapel Hill, so we got to tour around Duke and UNC.  He took us to Duke first and told us that after people see Duke, they aren't too impressed with UNC and you might think that is true for me as well because all the pictures are from Duke, but the fact is UNC was spectacular in its own way, but much more tightly packed, so hard to take pictures of and it was HOT and I was tired and sweaty and just didn't get the camera out...yes, it was that hot and HUMID.
OK.  Done whining.
Here are a few Duke pictures.
Pretty.  There were giant big koi in there, too.

Duke Chapel. 
 Really?  Chapel????  
But, Kevin, explained it can't be called a cathedral 
unless it is the home church of a bishop....
at least I think that is what he explained.

It is right next to the Duke Divinity School.
Most of the buildings on campus were made of 
this stone.  It did have a very European look and feel.

Soaring vaulted ceilings and stained glass.

To the very front left of this picture
(you can't see it at all)
is a prayer chapel where the founding
fathers are buried.
You aren't allowed in there unless you are praying.
I went in and was walking by each crypt saying a 
prayer of thanksgiving for men of vision when the
caretaker came to tell me I had to leave if I wasn't
praying.  I explained that I was walking and praying, but 
he still ushered me out.  He also told Toddy she didn't
need to pay to light a candle because they weren't 
Catholics, but had just taken their candle idea.
As we were leaving he closed the gate and took my arm.
He said, "Sometimes I pray while I am walking, too."

He was doing his job gently.

Duke was beautiful.  UNC was also beautiful in a red brick, grow as you need to, but don't cut down the big old trees kind of way.

Next, we three muskateers were on our way to the beach at Nags Head.  Vacation Part 3.

Vacation Part 1: The Biltmore

Every other summer I travel with Stevie and Amy to the beach...usually the same beach and the same house.  If Amy will hurry up and turn 40, for a few years we will be 3 decades traveling together - 40s 50s 60s!  We have learned how to travel well together and everyone knows their jobs and we have fun.

This year, we added a stop in Asheville on the way down.  I wanted to see the Biltmore - America's Castle.  It was beautiful.  It was hot.  I couldn't take pictures inside and all in all, I think I like Monticello better.  But here are a few pictures from out and about.
Pretty impressive first view, right?

Look at the detail.  It all got even more impressive
 when we got to see some of the construction photos...amazing.

My little husband told me that Mr. Vanderbilt could stand at the top of his house and all that he could see was his.  My little husband knows lots of useful stuff like that.
Regardless, the views were spectacular.

OLD wisteria vines that formed a shady arbor to walk under on the way to the gardens and it was HOT, so the shade was welcome.  
That fishy fountain above was on the wall side of this arbor.

The gardens.

This hibiscus bloom was the size of a dinner plate!

Another vista...can you see the rain off in the distance?
It never got to us.

Toddy, on the left, joined us for this part of our trip and 
she added the 70s decade.  Stevie is the 60s.  Not bad for a
couple of old farts, huh?

From here we drove to Raleigh to stay with Toddy for a couple of days.  Vacation Part 2.

Blog World Friends

One of the things I like most about blogging is the new friends I have met.  One of my favorite is Kristen.  We read each other's blogs and wrote comments back and forth for quite some time before I ever knew she was famous.  If I had known that first, I would have been scared...but she isn't scary at all, well, unless you count her scary talent for creating some of the best stories I have ever read.
By the time you finish one of her stories you are loath to let them go...you want to know what happened next, you NEED to know more because you have learned to love the characters and care about the story...really care about it and wonder...

So, if you want a chance to win one, just to get you hooked, you can go here and read up on the plan.  If you just want to buy one, that's good, too.  All the info is there.  You won't be disappointed.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Smiles and Revelations

Hopefully I'm not the only one that does this, but I have to confess that I worry about how I look.  Doesn't every girl want to be pretty.  I want my little husband to be proud to be seen with me.  Don't you feel better when your hair does what you want it to?
The other day as I was gazing wistfully in the mirror, lamenting the fact that I have wrinkles and acne...what universe is that right in?...I finally said to myself, "It is what it is," and smiled.  And that did it...when I smiled, I was pretty.

How easy is that?

The revelation is not new, but rather, renewed.  I need to make things.  Creating makes me happy....not cooking, not cleaning...but creating something, especially if it is something for someone else or something new for me to try.  I just picked up a garbage bag full of yarn and knitting needles from a friend who is done with her knitting phase and needing the room.  Look at this yummy dreamsicle color...it really is just exactly the color of a Dreamsicle!  What can I make with that?  Maybe my first prayer shawl, which is another project that has been swirling around.  Tanna?  Oh.  Wait.  Do I have to finish the sweater first?  Too hot for sweaters!

And I haven't been a knitter all that long, but I bet it's been awhile since yarn was $1.11 even at Murphy's, which is no more.

Today I finished birthday gifts for my friend, Karyn, and her daughter, who share the same birth date.  Karyn needs a new bag for all her Zumba stuff.  I didn't make the bag, but I made a sweet little tag to go on the handle.  See?
See the cute little daisy on the back, well, it will be the back....my friend, Mollie at http://wildolive.blogspot.com/p/embroidery-basics.html  
taught me how to make that with her basic embroidery tutorial.

Lydia is getting a Kindle Fire from her doting grandpa, (I know, right?  She's going into 2nd grade!  Where's MY fire?...OK, I'm over it now)  so I made her a cover for the Fire in her favorite color with her favorite animal.  I don't know that a poodle is her favorite dog, but dogs are her favorite animal.  

I have gotten a little better since I made the cover for my plain old Kindle, that I still love.

Oh, and my little husband is always proud to be seen with me...one of the reasons I love him so much!  He loves me all the way to the inside!

Gotta go pack for vacation now.  Not sure about connections while I am gone, but I will try to be in touch!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Birthday...

...to my sweet friend, Saundra.  We go to church together and serve on many activities together. She is amazing and turning 80!

I can only hope....

She is very creative and so something from my hands to hers was needed.
A little candle pin was created.
Hope she loves it and has a wonder filled birthday tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BIG Storm and Life Unplugged

Let me just put a 'Rambling Post Warning" up right now....you have been warned.

Let's just start.
First, I love storms.  I love the sheer awesome strength, power, beauty of them...wind, snow, thunder...I love them all.
Friday night we had one.  BIG thunder, BIG wind and rain.  The electric went out almost immediately.  No problem.  Light some candles and be happy.  I wandered from window to window watching, enjoying.  It started about 8:30 pm  and continued to go strong until it was full dark, which only makes the lightning more impressive.
Electric being out is usually not a problem for us.  We live in the middle of our small town.  2 doors down from the school.  5 minute walk to hospital and/or courthouse.  Our electric is usually restored pretty quickly, so as the storm quieted down we blew out the candles, fired up the flashlights and read in bed as usual.
Woke up the next morning to find out we still didn't have electric.  Curious, I quickly put my tennies on and went out to take my morning walk and explore.  At the end of our driveway I see that it's a good thing I am walking because both ends of our street are blocked with downed trees and wires.  Hmmmmm.  Wonder what else happened....keep walking and discover that we had a BIG storm all over town.  Many roads were blocked.  Leaves and branches everywhere.  When I got home we cranked up the emergency crank it up radio and found out that the entire state had a BIG storm and the governor had declared a state of emergency for the entire state. Seems we had a thing called a 'derecho' come through...from like Columbus to Washington, DC.

Second, as I looked at the downed trees I began to think.  As the storm was going on, I was talking to the trees I could see and encouraging them to be flexible and remember how strong they were and how deep their roots were...I know, not normal....but all 'my' trees are still standing!  Many of the trees I saw down had rot in their centers.  Many had big healthy branches snapped off because they didn't bend, weren't flexible and I thought that life is like that.  The people who stand strong in life's storms are flexible, rooted and have no rot in their centers...right?  I think my center is healthy and I am rooted, but I'm probably not as flexible as I could maybe be.

Third, it took 4 whole hot days to get our electric back on and I found out that life unplugged has some benefits.  I have been going through a season of unrest, floundering in the pace of life around me.  Everyone, everything was speeding along and I couldn't get in, I couldn't join.  I would get close and just get side swiped and left spinning and confused.  I wanted to run away.

 Then, no electric...life unplugged...everything slowed down.  And in the dark and the heat, I found a way to get in.  I got things done.  I found my place again...my peace.
We spent evenings sitting on the steps on the front stoop reading until the light faded.  Our neighbors sat outside, too.  I got a glimpse of what it was like in so many of the storied I read and loved as a child, about neighborhoods with stoops or front porches where living in community took place...A Tree Grows in Brooklyn comes to mind.  It was nice.
The rhythm of the days was more connected to real life and I liked it.  Earlier to bed, earlier to rise, living in the rooms that were getting the most light during the day...

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't like cold showers and only room temperature water to drink, but the rest of it I could work with ... well, at least for the 4 days we lived life unplugged.

I also love the way so many people shine in an emergency.  I have seen big electricity fixing trucks and crews here in my town from as far away as New York and Florida....even today, the 4th of July.  They missed their cook outs to help here...love that.

Anyway, all in all it was a good experience.

Thanks for rambling with me through this post...